How to Be Intentional with Your Money [Keys to Financial Success]

I’ve made two big changes internally that have led to a better financial life.

The first is taking ownership.

The second big change is: being intentional.

To do this, I had to let my daily choices be a result of my previously set goals, not spur of the moment decisions.

In other words, once I knew where I wanted to go (established savings, freedom from bad debt, and home ownership), my daily decisions (both big and small) were all pointed towards helping me achieve those goals.

What’s so hard about this, PT?

Well, at each of those decision points there is usually more than one voice present with an agenda. Not just your own.

Without realizing it, we make our decisions (or don’t make them) based on the voices of others. Going through life letting others make your decisions will only take you where THEY want you to be.

You’ve got to be intentional.

Without realizing it, we make our decisions (or don’t make them) based on the voices of others. Going through life letting others make your decisions will only take you where THEY want you to be. You’ve got to be intentional.

So, here are three specific ways to help you be more intentional:

1. Know Your Intent (Set Goals)

Simply put, to be intentional, you must know your intent.

Sounds obvious, I know. However, getting to know your intent is the best part of this whole “success in finance” series.

Everyone could benefit from stopping for a moment and thinking about where they want to be in the future. Dreaming is fun!

Take the next step and formalize this process by writing it down or getting on the Web and bloggin’ it up (like PT).

However you do it, just make sure you know what you want out of life from a financial standpoint and that those goals are listed somewhere for you to refer back to.

2. Tune Out the Others

It’s easier to be intentional when you remove the unwanted messages that are bombarding you on a daily basis. These are those other voices I was referring to above.

The “average person may see 5,000 ads a day.” That’s crazy.

Don’t be a sheep like everyone else who’s listening to these 5,000 messages. Tune out all the noise so you can clearly see your intent and make YOUR decisions.

The quickest way I’ve done this is to turn off the TV, cancel the catalog subscriptions, stop the junk mail, avoid the mall, and fill my life with other activities.

You don’t have to eliminate all of these at once, nor all the time, just be aware of where the other voices are coming from and choose to tune them out.

3. You Make the Decision

Lastly, once you’re armed with your “intent” and you’ve tuned out the “other” voices, it’s time to make your decision. Making your own decisions will allow your true intentions to be realized in your life.

A Quick Example of Being Intentional

As an example, let’s take credit card applications. Think of all the places you’re asked to sign up for a credit card: at the retail store, at the gasoline pump, at the bank, in your junk mail everyday, here on this site (wink, wink), at the sporting event freebie table, etc., etc.

You get the point. If you signed up for a credit card every time you were offered one, you’d have a mountain of cards. The only time you should sign up for a credit card is when YOU WANT TO based on your previously set intentions, not someone else’s.

Final Thoughts

I’m convinced that these two things (taking ownership of my life and being intentional with my decisions) were, and still are, KEY to bringing success to our personal finances.

Hopefully these points have given you an idea of how you can essentially get more control of your spending, saving, and debt reduction.

Anything to add to the discussion? Use the comment section below.

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  1. @Tanya – Thanks for the kind words. I hope you’re able to see some progress in 2009.

  2. I’m at a cross roads in my life, and even though I’ve been tracking and budgeting my earnings and expenses for years, I just seem to be putting along and getting further into debt. Job changes, divorce, child expenses, ect. Your 10 Things Series, is honest, not just another article you say “yah, yah, too”

  3. @Dana – Hey, I appreciate the comment and the kind words. Yes, it’s a continual learning process…I really could start a *new* 10 Things series today about the things I’ll be learning over the next few years.

  4. Thanks PT for this series, it’s been really informative. Even though I’ve been doing all right, I know there are some areas I need to improve in, this helped me see that.

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